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Wildlife friends foundation (WFFT) shares Heartbreaking photo of what a tourist elephant looks after 25 years of painful service in tourism

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The damage caused by elephant rides in Southeast Asia’s tourism industry


A recent photo shared by the Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand (WFFT) has highlighted the devastating effects of elephant rides on the animals in Southeast Asia’s tourism industry. The picture shows Pai Lin, a 71-year-old female elephant whose spine has been permanently damaged after carrying tourists on her back for 25 years.

According to the WFFT, the constant pressure of carrying up to six tourists at a time has caused significant harm to Pai Lin’s spine. The tissue and bones on her back have deteriorated, resulting in a physical deformity that cannot be reversed. Tom Taylor, the project director of WFFT, explains that elephants’ backs are not designed to carry heavy weight, and their spines extend upwards, making them vulnerable to permanent damage caused by constant pressure.

The story of Pai Lin, a rescued elephant living in WFFT’s sanctuary

WFFT shares Elephant’s miserable condition in South Asian Tourist industry

Elephant rides are a popular activity for tourists visiting Southeast Asia. However, animal rights activists consider this practice to be a form of animal cruelty. The physical damage caused to elephants like Pai Lin is irreversible, and many are forced to endure this kind of treatment for years before being rescued.

“Pai Lin arrived at our sanctuary in 2006 after working in the Thai tourism industry,” says Edwin Wiek, the director and founder of WFFT. “She was given up by her previous owner who felt that she was too slow and always in pain and couldn’t work well anymore.”

Now living in WFFT’s sanctuary with 24 other rescued elephants, Pai Lin has put on weight and developed a physical deformity that she will have to live with. Despite this, she is doing well and enjoys attention from people, although she is not particularly sociable with other elephants.

Efforts to end elephant rides in Southeast Asia

The WFFT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals in Thailand. They have rescued numerous elephants like Pai Lin from the tourism industry, providing them with a safe and comfortable environment where they can live out the rest of their lives without being exploited for profit.

The WFFT is not alone in their efforts to put an end to elephant rides in Southeast Asia. Animal rights organizations around the world have been campaigning to raise awareness about the negative effects of this practice on these majestic animals. In recent years, many travel companies and tour operators have stopped offering elephant rides as part of their packages, responding to increasing demand for ethical tourism practices.

However, there is still a long way to go before elephant rides are completely eradicated from the tourism industry in Southeast Asia. Despite the efforts of animal rights activists and organizations like the WFFT, many tourists continue to choose this activity, unaware of the harm they are causing to the animals they ride.

The WFFT hopes that Pai Lin’s story will help raise awareness about the negative effects of elephant rides and encourage more tourists to choose ethical alternatives when visiting Southeast Asia. The organization also calls on the government to take action to regulate the tourism industry and protect elephants from exploitation.

In conclusion, the WFFT’s photo of Pai Lin highlights the devastating effects of elephant rides on these majestic animals. It serves as a reminder that tourism activities that harm animals are not only unethical but also have long-lasting and irreversible consequences. As travelers, it is our responsibility to make informed choices and choose activities that do not contribute to animal cruelty.

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